Former MVAC standout honored for return to the court

By Nathan Ham -

BANNER ELK — Former East Wilkes Cardinal and current Lees-McRae Bobcat junior Avery Wallis was named the Conference Carolinas Comeback Athlete of the Year by the conference last Thursday.

Wallis suffered a significant elbow injury following a fall in practice after a dunk attempt halfway through his sophomore season. The dislocated elbow required three surgeries to repair and he had to remain in a fixator device for 12 weeks after the surgeries.

“We are very proud of Avery and how he handled the entire process. The injury sustained was very traumatic, but his determination and faith never wavered in his efforts to recover and return to the basketball court,” said Lucas Carson, who is an assistant athletic trainer for the Bobcats.

Wallis is the first Lees-McRae men’s hoops player to receive the award. The award is handed out each year to the student athlete who suffered a serious injury and returned later in their career to help their respective teams. This is the third year of the award.

Wallis missed the final half of his sophomore season during the 2014-15 campaign but was able to return this year and play in 30 games, including seven starts.

“Avery may be one of the toughest kid I have ever coached,” said head coach Steve Hardin. “The way Avery handled this injury and stayed himself was great to see. It shows that he’s a mature leader and a true comeback hero to our program.

The Bobcats won 16 games this season, setting a new program high for wins.

Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.

By Nathan Ham

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